I've had so much fun this year playing in museums! In 2015, I wrote about 20 museums and 16 exhibitions, with a quarter of the posts about the Musée du Louvre.
I also started monthly Creativity Themes, where I picked a theme for the month and thought of creative ways to interpret artworks and museums around that theme. The four themes of 2015 were CELEBRATION, LOVE, OUTDOORS, and BEGINNINGS.
To celebrate the end of the year, I picked some of my favorite museum visits and activities in 2015. I hope you'll enjoy!
Favorite Museum Space
The Cour Marly in the Musée du Louvre is grand. Filled with natural light and a forest of ficus trees, the courtyard houses an army of grand marble statuary. This is one of my favorite places in the whole world.
Favorite Museum Activity
Some of the most fun I've had on a museum visit this year was writing haiku in front of Dutch Golden Age paintings in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. As I looked at each artwork, I had to decide either to focus on the overall mood of the painting or on specific details. A still life table became a lot more complicated when I only had 17 syllables to capture its essence!
I love the series of severed kings' heads from the façade of Notre-Dame in the Musée de Cluny (Paris's museum of the Middle Ages). The story behind how these 13th century sculptures got into this museum is fascinating!
As I made my way through the Musée du Louvre one evening, it felt like every artwork that intrigued me was some version of a Niobid. I would be pulled to one Ancient Greek statuette, and then another, and each time the label would say “Niobid”. I thought these beautiful Niobid statues were joyfully dancing, but I was very wrong!
Favorite New Technology
For its Velázquez exhibition, the Grand Palais offered a guided visit using Google Glass. I was so excited to try out this out for the first time in a museum setting. The technology really added something to the understanding of the artworks, in new and creative ways. It was, indeed, an experience!
Favorite Photo Safari
I went on 10 photo safaris this year (a photo safari is a visit to a museum focusing on details found in objects around various themes, with the aim of looking at everything differently). But my absolute favorite was looking at shells in the Redpath Museum, a shell-ebration celebration.
During the monthly Creativity Theme on LOVE, I went on a hunt for touch in the Louvre's Ancient Egypt galleries. I came across many couples tenderly holding hands, putting their arms around each other, and even just ever-so-gently brushing up against one another. I had not expected to find this level of intimacy!
Favorite Museum-Inspired Craft
I had so much fun making a papier-mâché copy of Jean-Joseph Carriès's deliciously grotesque Horror Masks, on display in Paris's Petit Palais.
The Musée du Louvre's exhibition about the painter Poussin's depictions of religious scenes was epic. It was an absolute pleasure to get lost in the masterful paintings, and to finally get why Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) is such a big deal.
The two rooms of the relatively small exhibition on Swabian sculpture at the Musée de Cluny were glorious. To paraphrase Shakespeare, though it be but little, it is fierce. The artworks displayed a high level of virtuosity and expressiveness, with beautiful and gentle figures.
In the Musée du Luxembourg's exhibition on the Tudors, I was captivated by the elaborately depicted outfits worn by the subjects of the portraits. Brocade, bows, gems, feathers, lace, pearls, silks... The fashion was the (unintended) star of the show. The Tudors knew how to decorate themselves!
I wanted to make a playful video that brought the Louvre's self-portraits to life, surrounded by visitors creating their own self-portraits: selfies. This is what happens when one listens to "#SELFIE" by the Chainsmokers on the walk home from a visit to the Louvre!
The quantity of visitors in the Louvre can be impressive, if overwhelming. I shot this footage of the flow of visitors in some of the busiest galleries of the Louvre. Inspired by the mesmerizing 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi, I used music by Philip Glass and played with the speed and distance of the subjects.
Favorite Extracurricular Activity
Paris not only has amazing museums, but also world-class cocktail bars. Why not continue a museum experience with a post-visit debrief in a nearby speakeasy? This post is a curated pairing of these two elements, with the aim of creating atmospheric and fun outings.